After second-biggest ally Mamata Banerjee quit the UPA over rise in diesel price and the FDI policy, more allies have expressed concern that the government's attempt to cut its fuel subsidies might adversely affect the aam aadmi.
On the issue of recent FDI policy in multi-brand retail and aviation, the Congress, however, managed to secure the support of its remaining allies to stave off the Opposition campaign.
In the third meeting of the UPA coordination committee here on Thursday, the DMK and NCP are believed to have voiced their apprehensions over the rise in diesel price and capping the subsidy for just six cooking gas cylinders.
Both partners asked the government to explore the possibility of a partial rollback of diesel and allow at least 12 subsidised LPG cylinders for households.
DMK's TR Balu also conveyed party patriarch M Karunanidhi's strong sentiments against the fuel price rise.The DMK has called a meeting of its executive body on October 1— the day Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee will hold a rally in New Delhi's Jantar Mantar against the economic policy of the UPA government.
Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram gave a detailed briefing on why these steps were necessary.
"We discussed the need for reforms. We agree that the reforms are going to be a burden to people, but they are unavoidable," Chidambaram said after the meeting.
PM and Chidambaram also pointed out the positive after-effects of the slew of announcements on reforms like how the Sensex gained points and how the value of rupee has strengthened.
The recent political crisis in Maharashtra—where deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's resignation strained relations between NCP and Congress—didn't cast any shadow at the meeting in the Capital.
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, however, demanded a hike in the number of subsidised LPG cylinders in the meeting.
The allies were also apprehensive about the political impact of these measures as elections are due in some states in the next few months.
“With the new reforms, investments into India will increase. It will stimulate investments," Chidambaram said.